Ultimate Guide to Facebook Ad Formats in 2020

Ultimate Guide to Facebook Ad Formats in 2020
December 8, 2019 MadMarTech

With the average attention span of fewer than 8 seconds, platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram are expanding their portfolio of formats and ad types.

It is important for us marketing professionals and entrepreneurs to know all the available ad formats to make wise choices that work for the defined target audience.

Facebook and Instagram has over 3 billion users combined. Leveraging the power of machine learning and the humungous amount of user data, there has been increasing usage of dynamic ad formats.

In this post, you will learn in detail about all the ad formats and placements available on FB.

Photo Ads

This is the basic/primitive visual ad that the user sees on the feed with a photo and a line of text.

You can add a call to action button like sign up, visit the site, visit the store, etc to prompt user action.

Facebook photo ad format example


Video Ads

Video ad has a better brand recall and is a high impact format due to the storytelling aspect of it.

With the video engagement rate of 6.13% on an average which is twice that of the overall engagement rate of FB(3%), this gives a good enough reason to include this in your campaign.

Just like the image ads, it is recommended to upload the highest resolution video to the ad manager to get started.




Slide show is a set of slides/images that appears on the user’s feed in video format. You can upload up to 10 images and choose the music/tunes available on FB and it will create a video ad that appears usually on the user’s news feed on the mute mode.

It could be extremely helpful for small/medium-sized businesses that do not have a creative agency and would like to keep the production cost low while developing a functional video.

Another perk of using this format is it consumes less data, hence it would be a great way of reaching your audience in the rural area with a poor internet connection.

Slideshow ad formats work really well for service-based businesses to quickly showcase their portfolio to collect leads or win new business.

It is recommended to use all the 10 slides available and to show off your previous work/contracts. As this is just an image shown in video format, pacing becomes increasingly important.

To not shoo your user away, the duration of each slide/image should be up to 4 seconds. However, test and learn what suits for your business goal/brand.



Carousel video ads provide advertisers with abundant opportunities to get creative with video creation and message delivery. These are awesome for product promotion as you could show the entire collection in one ad.

Facebook allows you to add up to 10 images/videos each with an individual link, this gives a lot of options to test and learn.

Make sure that you use visually appealing content and don’t bore the audience with confusing scattered messages. It is best to have a narrative to walk your user’s through each grid via storytelling

Carousel Ad Format on Facebook example


Stories is a video/photo content that disappears 24 hours after posting. Due to the authentic look of stories, it makes it easier to catch the user’s attention and is favorable to promote the brand.

Stories ad format can be used for multiple business objectives like branding, product launch, product promotion, sales, events and more. They are versatile and engaging.

You could use Facebook stories in 3 different ways:

1. Photo: This story format stays up to 5 seconds.
2. Video: Video story format stays up to 15 seconds.
3. Carousel: Just like the usual carousel format, Facebook allows up to 3 pieces of either photo/video.

Here is an exmaple of Carousel stories from Michael Kors

Messenger Ads

Messenger ads work really well for the lower funnel campaigns like sales, promotions, giveaway and lead generation and are good for one-one personal contact with your customers.

There are 2 main types of messenger ads:

Click to Messenger Ads

This messenger ad format looks like a regular ad, however, the CTA would redirect to the user’s messenger.

Messenger Ads click to messenger ads format on Facebook

Sponsored Messages

This ad format appears on the user’s inbox. However, this ad format has a drawback, you can only contact those users who have interacted with your brand before.

As you might have guessed, it is not a format to use for prospecting campaigns where you are looking forward to reaching new potentials for your brand.

Facebook Sponsored Messages Messenger ad format example

Playable Ads

Playable ad format is a niche ad format that is created for the gaming industry.

However, other non-gaming brands could leverage this as well. This walks the user through the game itself and it provides the “try-before-you-buy” experience.

The advertisers who would like to promote game app installs can take make use of this format’s 3 part structure:

  1. The user views a mini demo of your game with a gaming controller popping on the screen to depict that the user could actually play the game.
  2. Once he clicks on it, he could play a short game demo to experience the intricacies of the game.
  3. The ad journey ends with providing the user a call to action button to install the app.

Collection with Instant Experience

Facebook collection ad is specially designed for mobile devices. They appear on the user’s feed and when the user clicks on the ad, it takes up a full screen providing an “Instant experience”.

It has a cover image that takes up a large portion of the ad and below the cover is a grid-like structure with 3-4 images. The collection ad format could be either an image or a video.

To simplify the production of the ad format, Facebook has created templates for advertisers. Depending on the business goal and campaign objectives, you could use the following templates:

P.S Custom templates are available as well.

Instant Storefront

This is designed for eCommerce brands to showcase their products. To get started with this template, you would need an eCommerce catalog which can be done by uploading the product feed or manually if you have fewer than 10 products.

Although in the feed grid there are only 3-4 product images, the users can slide to view more products. Facebook allows you to add up to 20 images. The images can appear in the order that you have set or can be personalized to each user.

Once the user has viewed the selected products in the storefront, you could add a call to action button like ‘Visit site’/ ‘Shop Now’ to redirect the user to the desired landing page.

Instant Lookbook

Lookbooks are designed to inspire your audience with lifestyle images and prompt user interaction through product tagging feature. By adding videos as a cover image, you can boost your interaction rate.

These formats are awesome for a product launch or even for brand awareness objectives. Due to product tagging, you also have so much data to learn more about your customers and provide them with exactly what they need.

This format could also be used for a store opening, tutorials, and much more. The possibilities are endless.

Instant Customer Acquisition

In simple words, these are fancy landing pages created within the Facebook interface. They look like a well designed one-page website customized to your campaign objective.

You can grab the user’s attention with a short intro video and then showcase your product/portfolio to convert them into a customer/lead. This ad template ONLY works well with a clear end-goal, i.e, you need to know what action you are expecting from your user.

Do you want them to sign up for a newsletter? Or would you like them to buy your event tickets? How about selling an online course? Well, it suits them all.

Instant Storytelling

Once upon a time in a land far far away, there lived a pretty little girl whose name was Daisy

Now that we have caught your attention, let us learn more about the storytelling format.

Tell your own brand story with this format, spice it up with a lot of carousels, compelling narrative, and move your audience enough to get that click on the CTA button.

Instant Form

Created with an objective to initiate the user’s for quick form fill-ups, is ideal for lead generation.

It is very simple and good for expanding your newsletter subscriber base or simply generating leads by collecting the user info to follow up later.

A form is made up of an intro, prefilled questions with drop-down options to choose from and a CTA button with a thank you page displayed followed by form completion. Super easy to get started.


Even though this blog post covers all the formats available on Facebook, it is still not exhaustive. With such a great deal of data available, Facebook is going to test and launch betas for more new formats now and in the future.

If such big entities are being careful about how they spend their money and where…we as marketers should not leave any leaf unturned when it comes to testing.

Depending on your business goal and budget, test format, headlines, CTA button to discover what works the best for you. Monitor your campaigns and keep on learning. Your job isn’t over and your campaign isn’t optimized until the campaign has ended. Good luck!